July 15th, 2013

Press Release: Current and Former Members of Congress Team Up to Benefit Wounded Warriors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  CONTACT: Dava Guerin, 202-222-0972
July 19, 2013 

The U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress’ Annual Congressional Charity Golf Classic raises funds for wounded warriors to get sports rehabilitation through Disabled Sports USA’s Warfighter Sports program. A new chair called, the “ParaGolfer” will be used for the first time, helping wounded warriors with limited use of their lower extremities.

Additionally, PGA of America Professionals continue their partnership with local Veterans Administration hospitals and healthcare systems with veterans. Through a network of PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) chapters, PGA Professionals delivers a new level of enjoyment that enhances mental, social, physical and emotional well-being.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—For the thousands of U.S. service members who have been severely injured in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, recovery from their wounds—seen and unseen—is no easy task. Disabled Sports USA and the PGA of America have helped many service members regain their confidence and independence through sports. Among the many athletic activities available to wounded warriors is the sport of golf.

WHAT: When it comes to supporting the nation’s warfighters, Republicans and Democrats are united in their efforts to recognize and support their service and sacrifice. For the past six years, the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress has organized the Congressional Charity Golf Classic, raising more than $300,000, all donated to the Disabled Sports USA Warfighter Sports program and to PGA HOPE. This year, the largest delegation of former and current Members of Congress is expected to attend, along with a record number of wounded warriors. It will also be the first time a wounded warrior will use the ParaGolfer chair. This specially- designed wheelchair was created for the golf course terrain, and lifts the individual from a sitting to a standing position. In addition to golf, it also helps elevate the individual to eye-level with other players, and allows unrestricted shoulder movement.

WHERE/WHEN: On Monday, July 22, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Via. The tournament will open with a brief ceremony and demonstration of the ParaGolfer. Winners will be announced at 2:30 PM at an awards ceremony and luncheon, where FMC will present a check to support Disabled Sports USA and PGA HOPE.

WHO: More than 50 current and Former Members of Congress will be at the event including FMC tournament co-chairman, Dennis Hertel (D-MI);  Ken Kramer (R-CO); Mike McIntyre (D-NC); and Jimmy Duncan (R-TN). Wounded Warriors will also be available for interviews including:  Staff Sergeant Charles Eggleston, U.S. Army Retired, who sustained permanent head and back injuries from multiple IED blasts in Iraq; and Sergeant Dewitt Osbourne lll, U.S. Army Retired who sustained a spinal cord injury and shoulder and foot wounds after being injured in Iraq in 2006.

For Major Justin Constantine, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, sports literally helped save his life. After being shot in Iraq while on patrol in 2006, he suffered severe facial damage, a visual impairment, and a traumatic brain injury. For his military service, he was awarded the Purple Heart. After his injury, Constantine began to play golf and, as a result, he is now back in the fight, giving motivational speeches, and participating in numerous regional golf events in an effort to help other wounded warriors with their recovery.

Coverage is invited. Interviews with current and Former Members of Congress and wounded warfighters are available.

About Warfighter Sports

Warfighter Sports, a program of Disabled Sports USA, offers sports rehabilitation for severely wounded warriors in military hospitals and communities across the U.S. through a nationwide network of over 100 community-based chapters.  Since 1967, Disabled Sports USA has proudly served wounded warriors, including those injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, offering over 30 winter and summer sports at more than 100 events each year.  Warfighter Sports rebuilds lives through sports by improving self-confidence, promoting independence and uniting families through shared healthy activities.  Contributions cover all expenses for participation, including individualized adaptive instruction, adaptive sports equipment, transportation, lodging and meals for the warrior and a family member.  Since 2003, more than 7,000of the most severely wounded and their families have been served, including those with amputations, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, visual impairments, and significant nerve and muscle damage.   For more information, visit www.warfightersports.org or www.disabledsportsusa.org.

About PGA HOPE: (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) currently features programs in: Atlanta, Battle Creek, Mich.; Charleston, S.C.; Los Angeles.; Bethesda/Olney, Md.; Fort Belvoir, Va.; Fort Eustis, Va.; Akron, Ohio; St. Louis; Rochester/Buffalo, New York; Seattle/Tacoma, Wash.; and San Antonio, Texas. Clearview Golf Club in East Canton, Ohio, launched the first women’s veterans program in 2011 and plans are underway to launch a Clearview HOPE Chapter in Dallas, Texas. PGA HOPE serves as a cost-free program for taxpayers or its partners. It brings together the PGA Professional, a local VA hospital that refers those who served their country through various conflicts and wars, and a host site where PGA expert instruction aligns with building friendships.  Beyond the PGA HOPE curriculum, families and spouses of veterans join in programs and events, while also gaining an understanding of the Rules of Golf, etiquette; proper equipment, dress and scoring.

About FMC: The mission of FMC is to promote public service and strengthen democracy via domestic and international programs. FMC seeks to improve the public’s understanding of the role of Congress as a unique institution, as well as the crucial importance of representative democracy as a system of government. Former Members of Congress participate in many diverse pro- bono projects, such as election monitoring abroad, outreach to high school and university students to encourage public service, and supporting programs that provide services to severely wounded veterans upon their return from Iraq and Afghanistan.